T-shirts handed out by an Army National Guard recruiter were not in compliance with a New York high school zero-tolerance policy that prohibits images of guns.
The Albany-area school's dress code rules out any clothing that contains an image of a weapon. The National Guard T-shirt in question, which is passed out at recruiting events across the country, depicted "the silhouette of a solider holding a gun in front of the American Flag," the Albany CBS News affiliate reported.
According to the Albany Times-Union, the "school dress code prohibits students from wearing anything that promotes or endorses the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs or encourages other illegal or violent activities."
National Guard officials agreed immediately to stop handing them out to the students, and will revise the T-shirt logo for future high school recruitment efforts. Up until now, school officials don't vet any handout materials or swag, but that will change moving forward.
About the controversy the erupted on Friday, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Superintendent of Schools Alan McCartney explained that students are "not allowed to wear anything that would have a weapon on it. Our main purpose is education. Wearing pictures of weapons brings to mind those things in our society that are not pertinent to education."
"One of the problems you have in school during this period in our history is that the weapon becomes the focal point for some people," McCartney added. "This has nothing to do with patriotism, nothing to do with anybody disliking the military, it has nothing to do with the recruiter himself, it just has to do with the fact that there was a weapon on the shirt and that just doesn't have a place in a high school."
In an interview, the superintendent told Fox News, "A couple of teachers realized it showed a silhouette of a rifleman on iI realize some students look at the T-shirt and all they see is the National Guard. And that is a good thing. Others look at the shirt and all they see is the rifle. Where do you draw the line? Is it okay to wear this weapon because it's a National Guardsman wielding it? (But it's not okay) if you've got a t-shirt on from a video game that shows somebody aiming at gun at somebody's head?"
Several students who initially declined to remove their National Guard T-shirts reportedly volunteered to maintain a 9/11 monument on school grounds as an alternative way to express their patriotism.
Earlier this month, a California school banned a sixth grade student from wearing a T-shirt in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attack because it violated the school uniform policy. As with the Albany incident, officials in the Sacramento-area school were unwilling to make an exception because it would make it difficult to draw the line in the future.
Under the circumstances with the school's code of conduct, do you agree or disagree that the National Guard T-shirt was inappropriate?
[image credit: Shutterstock]